Jason Ruffing

What to expect with the rental property registry and inspections

Jason Ruffing, Enforcement Supervisor, 509.625.6529

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 9:46 a.m.

What to expect with the rental property registry and inspections

Updated 12/19/2023

This page refers to Long-term Rental properties (30+ days). If you are looking for information on registering a Short-term Rental property (under 30 days), please visit the Short-term Rentals page.

The City of Spokane City Council passed the Regulation of Residential Rental Housing ordinance in early 2023. Spokane Municipal Code - Chapter 10.57: Regulation of Residential Rental Housing.

The ordinance addresses issues related to rental housing, including mandating City of Spokane business licenses for rental housing operators, establishing a registry of rental properties, and providing funding for Code Enforcement staff to have the capacity to perform more routine, periodic inspections.

The ordinance also established expectations for civil matter issues and other rental housing topics that are more legal in nature.

The following is a list of items to be managed by Code Enforcement:

Rental Property Registration:
The intent of the rental property registry is to obtain property information, organize contact information for responsible parties, and to gather data and streamline reporting. Additionally, the registry will help facilitate routine, periodic inspections and compliance efforts. Code Enforcement staff will continue to conduct inspections in response to complaints.

City staff is nearing completion of the development of the registration process for rental properties. The registration process will be primarily an online process where applications will be submitted directly to the City using the City’s existing online application system, Accela Citizen Access (spokanepermits.org). The development of the registration portal is nearing completion and will be ready to launch in December 2023.

Rental Property Inspections:
Code Enforcement currently conducts inspections at rental properties. Common violations inspectors observe would include lack of hot water, exposed wiring, water leaks, inadequate weatherproofing, and other similar issues. Code Enforcement evaluates building maintenance and habitability issues using the list of substandard building deficiencies detailed in the Existing Building and Conservation Code, found in SMC 17F.070.400. The new rental housing ordinance did not adopt new habitability or maintenance standards.

In an effort to respect a person’s privacy, Code Enforcement staff will request legal access to perform the inspection from inside of the property lines and dwelling units. The aim is to ensure safe living conditions. Voluntary compliance is the goal for any deficiencies observed.

Initial inspections, either periodic, routine inspections or inspections in response to complaints, are included in the registration fees. This includes the first re-inspection to correct deficiencies. Code Enforcement staff will begin coordinating and conducting registry-based inspections in early 2024.

Be on the lookout for presentations from Code Enforcement staff with the community groups around Spokane about the registry.

For additional information, see the resources below:

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